Though it has all but vanished, this is the scene that would have appeared directly in front of you had you visited this spot in the 1880's.
The stone furnace still standing today was once enclosed within a group of buildings that housed each step of the iron-making process.
The raw iron ore was prepared in (1) The Ore Kiln, before being dumped into the furnace through the (2) Top Houses.
If you look closely, you will see a modern photo of the (3) furnace superimposed on this 1880's photo so that you can get a perspective of how it used to look.
The raw ore was superheated in the furnace by burning the wood charcoal produced in the brick kilns.
Mixing the ore with limestone caused a chemical reaction that produced the molten iron that flowed out of the bottom of the furnace and into the (4) Casting Shed.
Here, men formed molds and channels out of sand on the floor.
The liquid iron trickled through the channels and filled the molds to form the "pig iron" bars that, when cooled, were sent to market on the train.
By the 1880's, the steam locomotive could pick the bars up right outside the casting shed and carry them down to Bangor where then could then be sent by ship to anyone who purchased them.
The large (5) Storage Barn on the right, housed all of the equipment and replacement parts needed to keep
the operation running.
On its return trips, the train could bring back passengers and supplies, such as the pile of shingles and the new batteau boat shown here just after unloading.
The batteau was the basic means of transportation for men working on the lakes and rivers of northern Maine, particularly in the lumbering industry.